2021 Code Review

Historical Background

The Code is the fundamental and universal document upon which the World Anti-Doping Program is based. Its purpose is to advance the anti-doping effort through universal harmonization of core anti-doping elements. It is intended to be specific enough to achieve complete harmonization on issues where uniformity is required, yet general enough in other areas to permit flexibility on how agreed-upon anti-doping principles are implemented. The Code has been drafted giving consideration to the principles of proportionality and human rights.

In January 2003, the first Code was approved in Copenhagen, during the Second World Conference on Doping in Sport. At the time, WADA committed to ensuring that the Code would be a living document, subject to periodic review. In keeping with that commitment, in February 2006 and November 2011, WADA’s Foundation Board initiated Review Processes with amendments being incorporated within the 2009 and 2015 Codes respectively.

2021 Code Review Process

On 16 November 2017, WADA’s Foundation Board initiated the 2021 Code Review Process, which will also involve simultaneous review of the International Standards. In short, the Process entails:

  • A two-year, three-phase, stakeholder consultation as summarized in the 2021 Code Review Process: Schedule below;
  • Circulation of multiple drafts of proposed Code amendments; 
  • A final draft Code being presented for consideration and approval at the fifth World Conference on Doping in Sport, to be held in November 2019 in Katowice, Poland; and
  • The revised, 2021 Code, entering into effect on 1 January 2021. 

2021 Code Drafting Team

As in the past, the 2021 Code Review Process will be driven by a small Code Drafting Team comprised of senior WADA staff and external experts; namely:

  • Richard Young (Attorney, main drafter);
  • Ulrich Haas (Professor of Law);
  • Liz Riley (Attorney);
  • Ben Sandford (Attorney and Member of WADA Athlete Committee);
  • Tim Ricketts (WADA Director, Standards and Harmonization); 
  • Julien Sieveking (WADA Director, Legal Affairs); and
  • Sébastien Gillot (WADA Director, European Regional Office and International Federations Relations).

The Code Drafting Team’s goal is to solicit stakeholder feedback; and, incorporate the best feedback into successive working drafts of the 2021 Code. In the past, as a result of stakeholder consultation/dialogue, the Team has been successful in building consensus on the best stakeholder feedback. Where there is no consensus, WADA’s Executive Committee, acting as the steering body for the Team, decides which diverging stakeholder views should be incorporated within the successive drafts.

the process

On 12 December 2017, 4 June 2018 and 10 December 2018 respectively, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) launched the three phases of the 2021 World Anti-Doping Code Review Process (2021 Code Review Process), which also involves review of the International Standards (Standards).

On 15 July 2019, the Agency published:

I. The third draft of the 2021 World Anti-Doping Code (Code)

II. The second drafts of the International Standards (where applicable)

III. The revised Anti-Doping Charter of Athlete Rights (Charter)

These updated versions of the Code, Standards and Charter follow careful consideration of all recommendations and feedback received during the three phases of the 2021 Code Review Process, which came to an end on 4 March 2019. They were submitted to WADA’s Executive Committee (ExCo) and Foundation Board (Board) at their respective meetings on 15 and 16 May 2019.

The whole review process will culminate with approval of the final drafts at WADA’s next World Conference on Doping in Sport, which is to be held in Katowice, Poland in November 2019; after which, the revised 2021 Code and Standards will take effect on 1 January 2021.


Following the third phase of stakeholder consultation on the 2021 Code, the Agency published:


Following the second phase of stakeholder consultation on the Standards, the Agency published:

1.  The International Standard for Therapeutic Use Exemptions (ISTUE)

2.  The International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories (ISCCS)

3.  The International Standard for Education (ISE)

4.  The International Standard for Results Management (ISRM). This Standard is currently undergoing a second consultation phase following the presentation of the second draft at the May 2019 ExCo meeting. The most recent documents are listed below:

5. The International Standard for the Protection of Privacy and Personal Information (ISPPPI)

6.  The International Standard for Testing and Investigations (ISTI)

7.  The International Standard for Laboratories (ISL). This version (10.0) of the Standard was approved at WADA’s May 2019 Board meeting, following a third phase of consultation requested by the WADA ExCo in November 2018. The consultation phase ran from 10 December 2018 to 4 March 2019 along with the other Standards. Version 10.0 will come into force on 1 November 2019 but will undergo further revision in 2020 to bring it in line with the 2021 Code. As such, a consultation phase will take place from December 2019 to March 2020. The most recent documents are listed below: 

8.  The International Standard for the Prohibited List is not part of the review process as it is reviewed annually via a separate stakeholder consultation.
[Note: At this point, the Code and Standard documents are available in English only.]

Following the first and only round of stakeholder consultation of the Anti-Doping Charter of Athlete Rights, which is being developed by WADA’s Athlete Committee, the Agency published:

 [Note: The second draft of the Charter is also available in French and Spanish.]

WADA would like to thank all stakeholders for their feedback during the 2021 Code Review Process. The high quality of stakeholder feedback that was collected during the Review was instrumental to ensuring that the Code and Standards be further strengthened in protection of clean sport.

The Agency also wishes to advise stakeholders that while the official consultation phases are now over – with the exception of the ISRM (which is currently undergoing a second consultation phase) and the ISL (which will undergo further revision and stakeholder consultation as explained above) – the drafting teams will continue to accept comments and/or feedback from stakeholders to ensure that the 2021 Code and Standards, which will be further discussed by WADA’s ExCo at its last meeting before the World Conference (on 23 September in Tokyo) are as robust and comprehensive as possible.